An Alternative Deal

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular continues from Friday:

The princess seethed.  The duke was nervous but stood his ground.  They looked at each other in silence for several moments until she, unable to counter his argument, dismissed him.  She slumped over the desk and felt very sorry for herself.

“The first thing they ask me for and I can’t deliver!” she said out loud.

“Perhaps you can,” said a strange voice.

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“Ahhh!  Where did you come from?”  The princess jumped and stood up straight, embarrassed to have been overheard and alarmed to be looking at a strange person who had apparently appeared from nowhere.

“I’m sorry Princess, I didn’t mean to startle you.”  He smiled warmly.

“Who are you and where did you come from?” she asked again, calmer now but wary.

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“I apologise.  My name is Venustus.  I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation with the duke and I believe I can help.”

“First tell me where you’re from and how you got into the castle!”

As Venustus’s smile broadened, the princess’s mistrust faded away and she forgot her question.

“I can get you what you’re looking for,” he said, “make your trade with me.”

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“My father decreed that only Aequitas can make the trade.”

“With Calidum Terram.  But what’s to stop you from trading with another party?”

The princess hesitated.  “Nothing … I suppose.  But we’re already getting a fair deal, so I won’t be able to do better.”

“So says the duke, but how can that be true if I can get you those goods for half the price?”

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So Princess Primrose made a deal with Venustus and very soon the cheap goods were on the market.  Her people were delighted to find what they needed at such low prices and, as she’d hoped, loved her for listening to them and getting them what they wanted.  The princess was very pleased with herself and basked in the adoration of the populace which she read about almost every day.

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But not everyone was happy with the new arrangements.  The duke was very concerned as the produce from Calidum Terram went bad on the shelves, and he discovered that the princess was dealing with Venustus.

He urgently begged an audience with her but when she refused to see him he wrote to her, daily.  The first few letters she binned, but after a while she didn’t even bother to read them.

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After all, hadn’t her father told her that it wasn’t possible to please everyone?  Well, if the Duke of Aequitas wasn’t pleased then that was something she’d just have to live with – and, since he seemed to be the only one who wasn’t happy, she could  be pretty satisfied that she’d done a good job.

And she was.

For a while.

Until Grandfather died.

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Oh no!

Story continues tomorrow – or you can read it here now 😀


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